A Russian submarine captain breaks for the U.S. coast in an experimental sub, prompting the CIA to ask if he's defecting or trying to start a war.
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Directed by John McTiernan
Written by Larry Ferguson and Donald E. Stewart
Starring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Sam Neill, Scott Glenn,
James Earl Jones, Tim Curry, Courtney B. Vance, Jeffrey Jones,
Fred Thompson, Joss Ackland, Richard Jordan, Stellan Skarsgård
Based on the novel by Tom Clancy
Oscar Wins - Best Sound Editing
Oscar Nominations - Best Film Editing, Best Sound
Prior to viewing this film, my only experience with Tom Clancy and the world of Jack Ryan was the dreadfully forgettable 2014 franchise restarter Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Because of that film, I was reluctant to dip my toe back into those waters. The idea of a CIA analyst being some sort of accidental superhero just sounded ridiculous anyway. I finally sat down for Red October because I wanted to familiarize myself with as much of Sean Connery's notable work as possible. And what a film this is. This Cold War action thriller is a fantastic lesson in suspense and character development, led by a perfectly dubious performance from the late Sir Sean.
This film is essentially two stories that finally verge in the last half hour. First, we have Soviet submarine commander Marko Ramius (Connery), who has, for reasons unknown, steered an experimental submarine towards the U.S. coast, fleeing Russia. We don't know if he's trying to defect and seek U.S. asylum, or if he's snapped and is trying to start a war. On the other side, we have CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Baldwin), who believes Ramius is defecting and is doing everything he can to stop the U.S. Navy from destroying him and the sub. The not-knowing is what makes this film so engaging. It's done so well that either option could be up for grabs until the exact moment you're supposed to know. It's an impressive piece of filmmaking.
The Hunt for Red October has aged really well, and features an impressive cast of character actors who all perform admirably. I am definitely inspired to give Patriot Games a shot next. Maybe that Chris Pine one was a fluke and these movies are actually awesome. All I know thus far is that this film was one of Connery's best and it deserves the critical praise.